When, during her run (as Anna Leonowens) in the original Broadway stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I
, Gertrude Lawrence missed a series of performances, the producers wrote to her lawyers, accusing her of faking an illness. If this unprofessional behavior continued, they warned, she would forfeit her share of the production's profits.
The letter arrived on a Monday. Lawrence's reply? She had none; she had died of cancer over the weekend.
[Though Lawrence discovered that she had cancer during the early part of the run, she told no one. She was later buried in the pink satin hooped ballgown in which she had sung "Shall We Dance?"]